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Jones v. McLaughlin

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

March 4, 2019

VICTOR KEITH JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
Warden MCLAUGHLIN, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN HYLES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants Stevenson and Raines' motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 34). For the reasons explained below, it is recommended that Defendants' motion be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         This suit arises from Plaintiff's prior incarceration at Macon State Prison (“MSP”). He alleges that on April 14, 2014, Defendants Stevenson and Raines, MSP officers, were escorting Plaintiff from the MSP shower area to Plaintiff's cell in the disciplinary segregation unit. Compl. 5, ECF No. 1. While being escorted, Plaintiff's hands were cuffed behind his back and Defendant Stevenson was holding Plaintiff by his arm. Id.

         Plaintiff contends that as he approached his cell, he heard cell number 238 being electronically opened by an officer in the control booth, saw the door of that cell begin to open, and noted that the door was not properly latched. Id. Plaintiff avers that an inmate then ran out the open door of cell number 238 and began repeatedly stabbing Plaintiff with a “thick, sharpened, screw-type weapon of ten to 12 inches long.” Id. Plaintiff allegedly “cried out for help and tried to defend [himself], ” while Defendants Stevenson and Raines watched the assault, did not call for assistance, and “fail[ed] to use their chemical agents of pepper spray or any other preventative means to stop [the] inmate from stabbing [Plaintiff].” Id. Plaintiff contends that Defendants “watched the whole assault unfold for approximately 2 ½ to 3 minutes before making a radio call for assistance.” Id.

         Plaintiff filed claims against multiple MSP officials, seeking declaratory relief, compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages, a jury trial, and all additional costs associated with the alleged incident. Compl. 6. After preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint, only claims against Defendants Stevenson and Raines for deliberate indifference to his safety by failing to intervene remain. Order 1-2, Aug. 2, 2016, ECF No. 15; Order & R. 7, June 7, 2016, ECF No. 10. On March 23, 2018, Defendants moved for summary judgment in their favor (ECF No. 34).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment may be granted only “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment, drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit. Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         Plaintiff did not respond to Defendants' motion for summary judgment or their statement of facts despite being given notice from the Court of the need to do so. Notice of Summ. J. Mot. 1, ECF No. 36. When reviewing a summary judgment motion, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, but the non-moving party may not merely rest on his allegations when evidence is presented that firmly rebuts those allegations. “The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion [] and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Jones v. UPS Ground Freight, 683 F.3d 1283, 1292 (11th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted) (alterations in original). “The burden then shifts to the non-moving party to rebut that showing by producing affidavits or other relevant and admissible evidence beyond the pleadings.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “The non-moving party does not satisfy its burden if the rebuttal evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative of a disputed fact.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         Under Local Rule 56, a non-movant must respond “to each of the movant's numbered material facts[, and] [a]ll material facts contained in the moving party's statement which are not specifically controverted by specific citation to the record shall be deemed to have been admitted, unless otherwise inappropriate.” M.D. Ga. L. R. 56. Because Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendants' motion for summary judgment and Defendants' factual assertions are supported by record evidence (ECF Nos. 34-2, 34-3, 34-4, 34-5), the Court deems admitted those facts not specifically controverted by Plaintiff. See M.D. Ga. L. R. 56.

         II. Defendants' Motion

         Defendants argue that summary judgment should be granted in their favor because Plaintiff “cannot prove the required deliberate indifference.” Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. 6, ECF No. 34-1. They contend that the undisputed record shows they “did what they could [to aid Plaintiff] without risking their own lives.” Id. Plaintiff has not responded to Defendants' motion for summary judgment or the arguments contained therein. The Court finds the record evidence insufficient to support Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim and thus recommends granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 34).[1]

         A. Failure to ...


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